Alone in the Dark Review
Set during the 1920's, Alone in the Dark weaves a subtle and engrossing tale of ineffable, nihilistic horror from beyond our reality. Edward Carnby is a well to do PI who is called in to investigate the mysterious suicide of Jeremy Hartwood, owner of the eidolic Derceto Mansion. What follows is a rich tale of subtle machinations, dark occult experimentation and a terrifying, insanity inducing, truth that threatens the entire cosmos.
At least that's what this movie would have been about if it bore any resemblance to the iconic 1992 PC game that started the Survival Horror genre. As it stands, Uwe Boll's travesty has about as much in common with the original game as George Bush has with forward thinking reusable energy sources.
So what is the movie about then, if Uwe has rejected the Lovecraftian overtones of the original work? Bear with me, as this may get confusing: Edward Carnby (Christian Slater & Dustyn Arthurs) is an orphan in a remote orphanage run by nuns. One night Edward sees something alien in the shadows and runs to hide next to some massive electric transformers where he gets electrocuted. Lots of bad things happened to all those at the orphanage, but no one knows what. Fast forward to the near future and Edward is now a man and is a part time archaeologist. Along side this, we have an off shore expedition, led by a mad scientist called Prof. Lionel Hudgens (Mathew Walker). Hudgens is looking for a 10,000 year old sarcophagus of a Native American tribe that discovered the dark aliens that Edward saw way back at the beginning of this paragraph. This despite the fact that Hudgens already has a dark alien locked up and uses its blood to inexplicably control people who he has experimented on, by implanting a completely separate symbiotic alien. The fact these dark aliens nearly wiped out all of humanity the last time they were released, doesn't seem to matter. In addition to that there is a secret US paranormal unit roaming around killing the dark aliens, a unit which Edward used to belong and who by complete coincidence, if you haven't already guessed, has been experimented on by Hudgens along with everyone else at the orphanage. Only Edward isn't affected because he was electrocuted, remember?
What a complete pile of unmitigated, insensible, incomprehensible garbage. I would love to have been at the conversation where someone said “We aren't going to use this lovely, textured, rich, dark, emotive story that's already written, oh no. I was thinking of this mad scientist who...” I mean honestly what's going on? I have just been to a horror film festival and there were movie makers, true dyed in the wool heroes of the genre, people with actual skill and imagination, who have to wrestle man eating tigers and jump through flaming hoops to get any money at all. Yet hacks like Uwe Boll and Paul W S Anderson, despite a staggering lack of cinematic acumen, get millions to produce stuff like this
The CGI is laughable, direction worse and if the acting is worse still, it is because the script makes it impossible to expect anything but. The tone of the movie is understandably schizophrenic with confused action sequences sandwiching a very, very ill advised “sex” scene. The only reason this movie doesn't get a “0” is because some of the effects, except a strobe light sequence and the dark aliens, are well done.
So, not the best movie in the world, then, in fact it's probably one of the worst. Not because of anything technical but rather the donor material was so good it is more difficult to make a poor movie than a good one. I call it the Phantom Menace Syndrome and Alone in the Dark is a prime example.